I once had a dream of becoming a farmer’s wife – just a farmer’s wife. Somewhere in the back side of my mind were lofty dreams of a big, two-storied colonial house stationed at the end of the lane. White columns at the front added to feelings of grandeur in my mind. Black and white cows grazed the pasturelands, up to their knees in lush, green carpet. Rows of corn and soybeans, laid out in symmetrical curves plowed their way into the furrows of my brain, and I experienced contentment just thinking about it all.
That first glimpse of what would become our farm is firmly recorded in my memory. It was like a dream materialized. The farmer I was getting ready to marry had the same dreams and values that had been so important to me for so long. As he and I walked through the wheat fields and orchards, we knew we had found our home…the white colonial house with the columns…the cows grazing in the front pastures…corn, soybeans…the whole package.
Along with our dream package, we found work – lots of work. We arose at 4 A.M. , extracted the white gold from the cows, baled hay, chopped silage, plowed fields; and we watched sunsets, listened to mocking birds, and counted the ducks and geese as they came home for the winter. Such moments provided a balance that helped to strengthen our partnership. I was the farmer’s wife I had always wanted to be. I cooked, I sewed. I preserved fruits and froze vegetables, hauled grain to market, fed calves, helped haul hay – all those things farm wives do.
Leisure moments were sparse, but we didn’t mind; we could see the end of the rainbow just over the next hill! The synchronized partnership worked; we believed we would see that pot of gold if we continued to work at our dream.
Decades passed. Years of drought began to take their toll; fields, usually green and lush in June, took on the appearance of October after the first frost paralyzes growth. Year after year it happened…brown fields and pastures…high prices for feed and fertilizer…low profits. Bit by bit we felt our life blood draining; we were falling into a great chasm of helplessness. Hope and optimism, generally steadfast in farm people, fluctuated daily. The dream quickly turned into a nightmare.
We had to sell our farm, the cows, and the pecan orchard where they grazed – but we are among the fortunate ones. We were able to keep our home and the surrounding acres. We still listen to the mocking birds; we drive down the same lane every day. We watch the sunrise and sunset from the same perspective—or do we?
We did all we could to achieve our dream. We worked, we prayed, we manipulated, we struggled. Man and nature’s coordinated efforts were more than we could withstand. There is no regret; no bitterness. No longer young, I still wonder how it might have been. But then, that’s the material from which dreams are made.